Around 200 people rallied at the Missouri Capitol today against President Obama’s mandate that employers provide coverage for contraceptive services.
Churches are exempt from the mandate, but religious non-profit organizations, such as schools and hospitals, are not. John Gaydos is bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City.
“Religious freedom is not merely about our ability to attend church on Sunday," Gaydos said. "It is impossible to exercise that religious freedom and at the same time compromise the faith that inspires us to action.”
Missouri Senator Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) has been released from a Jefferson City hospital and is resting at her Capital-area residence.
She left the State Capitol Wednesday afternoon after becoming light-headed during debate on an education bill. Her Chief of Staff, Kit Crancer, did not disclose the nature of her illness. He described it as a serious but non-life threatening situation.
“We had excellent hearings this year, but it became very clear that until we raise the awareness of the public and the need in the public that we would be spinning our wheels to move any further," Stouffer said.
The Missouri Senate took the next step Tuesday toward beginning final negotiations with the House on next year’s state budget. But Senate members struggled with whether to bind themselves to various positions they support.
Missouri senators have endorsed changes in the procedure for nominating candidates for the state Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
A seven-member commission screens applicants for vacancies on the state's high court and the three districts of the Court of Appeals. The panel recommends three finalists, from which the governor makes the appointment.
The commission is currently made up of a judge, three lawyers and three people selected by the governor.
The Missouri Senate passed a $24 billion state budget early this morning, following several hours of debate and closed-door negotiations.
The Senate spending plan for FY2013 directly challenges the Missouri House's position on blind pensions. By a narrow margin, Senators restored $28 million in state funding cut by the House last month, while leaving in $18 million in federal Medicaid dollars. Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) says they now have more room to maneuver when negotiations with the House begin on the final version of the budget.
The Republican from Cape Girardeau had promised weeks ago that he would block the budget over its use of one-time funds to fill holes in next year’s spending plan. Gradually throughout the evening, other fiscally conservative Senators joined in, including Jim Lembke (R, Lemay), Rob Schaaf (R, St. Joseph), and Luann Ridgeway (R, Smithville).
Early on, Crowell spent part of the filibuster lampooning the Missouri House for cutting pensions for the blind.
Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have passed that chamber’s version of the state budget for next year.
The Senate plan is about $86 million smaller than the version passed by the House last month. Cuts include $13 million from child care provider grants, $7 million from other childcare services, and $1 million from meals at state prisons. Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) acknowledges that many of the cuts target Medicaid.